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What Is the Difference between Myopia and Hyperopia?

By H. Lo
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A person with myopia can see things that are near but cannot clearly see things that are far, while a person with hyperopia can see things that are far but cannot clearly see things that are near. Myopia and hyperopia are also known as nearsightedness and farsightedness, respectively. The range of things an individual might be able to clearly see differs from person to person as either condition might be mild or severe.

Both myopia and hyperopia are refractive errors. Light that enters the eye is supposed to bend and hit the retina, the part of the eye that focuses images. A refractive error means that the eye is unable to correctly bend the light, making objects appear blurry. With myopia, the refractive error occurs when the retina is too far away for the light to reach. Just the opposite is true with hyperopia; the light reaches too far and hits behind the retina.

There are no measures that an individual might take in order to prevent myopia and hyperopia from happening. Either condition can run in families and affect anyone. In addition, sometimes hyperopia can be present in a child at birth, but when this is the case, the condition will usually go away on its own as the child grows.

Symptoms of myopia and hyperopia are straightforward. For myopia, things that are too far away appear blurry. For hyperopia, things that are too close are blurry. An individual with myopia or hyperopia might need to squint in order to see these blurry objects clearly. This can lead to eyestrain, which can then cause headaches.

In addition to having vision difficulties, myopia and hyperopia have connections to other medical conditions. For example, severe myopia can increase an individual’s risk of developing an eye disease known as glaucoma. In addition, retinal tear or detachment, a medical emergency that can result in vision loss, can also occur with myopia. Signs of retinal detachment include suddenly seeing flashing lights or floating spots, as well as having a partial loss of sight.

An individual with myopia or hyperopia might want to take measures that will enable him to obtain better vision. This can include undergoing an eye examination and obtaining glasses or contact lenses. In the case of myopia, he might want to consider laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) eye surgery, a medical procedure that corrects the condition.

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Discussion Comments
By Fa5t3r — On Jan 21, 2015

@umbra21 - In some cases people can't afford anything else, but I wouldn't use those cheap reading glasses if I had an alternative. A lot of people (myself included) have two different prescriptions, because their eyes are at different strengths, and it's possible to hurt your eyes by wearing the wrong prescription for too long.

I also think it's a good idea to go to the optometrist reasonably regularly because there are a lot of other things they check for. I didn't know I was nearsighted until I was checked, as the main thing I noticed was that I would get headaches at school for what seemed like no reason.

They also test for diseases that can show up in the eye.

I do find it too expensive to get my glasses from my optometrist, so I usually just go there for my prescription and check-up then get the actual glasses from online.

By umbra21 — On Jan 21, 2015

@Iluviaporos - She might want to consider getting two or three pairs for different occupations. Many people have reading glasses which are intended to help them with hyperopia and only wear them when doing close work or viewing. You can get those for a few dollars if you're willing to try them out until you find the right prescription.

Then she can switch to the other kinds when she's doing something that requires her to see long distances.

By lluviaporos — On Jan 20, 2015

My mother is both farsighted and nearsighted and both conditions seemed to start after she got into her fifties. She refused to go to an optometrist for a long time, so I don't know when exactly they both started, but she was really upset to learn that she had both conditions.

One or the other isn't too hard to correct and is relatively cheap to buy glasses or contacts (depending on how bad the condition happens to be). But if you've got both at once you have to get glasses that have both kinds of lens, one at the top and one at the bottom. And those are incredibly expensive. I guess making them is difficult or something, because they seem to be something like ten times more expensive than ordinary glasses.

Not to mention it took my mother about six months to get used to them and the way you have to switch around the way you look at distances and close-up objects so that they stay in focus. The whole thing was rather depressing for her.

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